I think we’re finally starting to get a picture of what exactly happened with the Wii U launch.
From the very beginning, people’s impressions were very negative based on the belief that Nintendo seemed as if it didn’t know what it was doing with the console. It seemed as if the core function of the Wii U wasn’t thought out all that well and that it was still a work in progress. We had Miyamoto say before Star Fox Zero came out that they were still experimenting with the dual screen functionality on consoles.
Why would it take so long to experiment with something like that? I think, looking back, that the Switch was always planned to be Nintendo’s next big thing, but there was some technical issue that prevented it from reaching the market.
So what happened?
Wii U was never meant to be a success: It was meant to be a console they could use to:
- Get the hang of HD development and start preparing their teams for it.
- Experiment with the idea of having console quality graphics on a handheld so they could make the tech affordable
- Put into motion essential marketing strategies that will make the Switch a huge success. Miiverse, MyNintendo, the improved eshop, those kinds of things.
- Improve relationships with third parties and try to take the steps necessary to get the big third party releases of yesterday on the platform.
I feel as if the Switch was what Nintendo really wanted to do, they just needed a bit more time to get the tech ready, which is why they came up with the ‘Super Wii’ idea instead as a placeholder and then brainstorm ideas for that instead while the tech for Switch was fine tuned.
I think Wii U was, in it’s way, a huge success for Nintendo because it gave their competitors this false sense of security. That Nintendo really was doomed, that they couldn’t compete, that nothing they could possibly do would pull the rug out from them at this stage.
They did, and quite splendidly. PS4 sales won’t mean shit if Switch can play the best versions of games on the go and at home. And of course, Nintendo is dominating the mobile scene at the moment, with the most successful app in the world right now, Pokemon Go. And they can build off of that success with more games, both for phones and Switch to reach ludicrous new heights. And it was all because they took the very necessary step of putting the Wii U out there and learning from how the market responded to it.
Switch is going to be a huge hit because of the Wii U.